Agenda item

Performance Report

To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families which provides a summary of performance information relating to outcomes for Leeds children and young people in Leeds.


Members received a report from the Director of Children and Families which provided a summary of performance information relating to outcomes for children and young people in Leeds.


In attendance for this item were:


·  Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Economy, Culture, and Education

·  Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children Social Care and Health Partnerships

·  Julie Longworth, Director of Children & Families

·  Chris Hudson, Performance Programme Manager

·  Dan Barton, Deputy Director – Learning


The Director of Children and Families provided a brief introduction. The report is intended to provide assurance around the health of the children’s social care system in Leeds along with details on key performance information. It is also worth noting that this is the first performance report brought forward since the refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan 2023-28 was agreed and there is an update provided on the three obsessions within the paper.


It was noted that the Key Stage 4 figures for 2022/23 could be subject to change as a final data release is awaited from the DfE. The Annual Standards report which regularly comes to the Board will provide more detailed information on attainment, in addition to the headline figures that are covered in today’s report.


In response to members questions and comments the following points were covered:


·  The Chair raised a question in relation to EHCPs and statutory timescales, seeking clarity on the number of EHC assessments issued within the 20 week timescale. In response the Board heard that there has been a significant increase in demand for EHCPs in Leeds (118% increase in demand since 2016 and in 2023, 954 completed assessments compared to 374 in 2022) which had driven both the internal improvement work being led by the directorate and the inquiry work being undertaken by the Board.

·  The Board asked for more details on the attainment figures and comparison with statistical neighbours. performance in Leeds is broadly in line with statistical neighbours and in respect of Progress 8 Leeds is ahead. Members were keen to understand some of the changes in attainment data with Leeds performing better in some areas but with national figures in some areas appearing to have fallen. The Board were informed that post pandemic there are changes in attainment data in part attributable some of the experiences of children during the pandemic i.e. reduced access to school and nursery provision. In summary the figures presented are linked to both improvement in Leeds and some reduction in attainment at national level. The Board noted that this could be considered as a future item of scrutiny in the next municipal year.

·  Board members asked about attainment in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 and any mapping that has taken place around when improvements might be seen in those cohorts. The Board heard that the Council has high ambitions for attainment at all stages of education and that work done at an earlier age will have a greater impact further down the line in terms of attainment, it was also noted that improvements will be delivered working in partnership with schools.

·  Responding to a question in relation to registration of new children’s homes by Ofsted the Board heard that the directorate is taking a proactive approach to working with Ofsted to develop in house provision. Meetings have taken place at a high level between officers and Ofsted in order to try to speed up registration.

·  On overall CLA figures Leeds is above the national average in terms of the rate per 10,000 children but is below statistical neighbours. It was also noted that Leeds has a strong focus on reunification of families through invest to save measures and that 60% of children in the care system in Leeds are cared for in house either through foster carers or in kinship arrangements, which compares well to other local authority areas. Leeds performs particularly strongly in respect of kinship arrangements, and this has been noted by a recent all-parliamentary group.

·  Members noted the demand that children’s services are under and that this is backed up by the referral rate figures in Leeds, this is 642 per 10,000 set against a national figure of 544.5 per 10,000, which reflects the challenges faced by the city both in terms of overall demand and complexity of needs.

·  It was noted that on Progress 8 Leeds has taken significant steps forward backed up by the attainment figures for 2022/23. An improvement of 0.12 in Progress 8 is actually a major improvement in performance.

·  The Board heard about plans for Early Years and Foundation Stage development. Work is ongoing with health colleagues to increase the range of the Best Start Programme from 0-2 years to 0-5 years. It is hoped that this will deliver improvement in attainment and across a whole range of measures in the future. It is hoped that this approach will deliver a strategic, multi-agency focus on this age group targeting issues such as reading and an added focus on the 0-5 age range as a whole as opposed to just the 0-2 age group. This approach will tackle the increasing prevalence of children of school age being non-verbal or still using nappies.

·  On Attainment, the Executive Board Member for Economy, Culture and Education stated that the recent improvements in performance are positive indicators for attainment in the future.

·  The Board wanted to know more about breakdown of foster placements and any analysis of the reasons why a placement breaks down. In response it was noted that breakdowns are more common with adolescents and there is a need to provide more support to carers who are caring for adolescents. The importance of becoming a trauma informed city was also noted as an important step in providing support to carers.

·  Returning to the issue of adolescents it was noted that there are additional challenges today linked to use of technology and devices, with adolescents often being 24/7 connected to phones or tablets. The Board asked about training and skills development for carers on these aspects of teenage life today. In response the Board noted plans for an Adolescent’s Service or specific resource to target support at that age range and provide training and support to both carers and professionals.

·  The Board also asked about any correlation between foster placement breakdown amongst adolescents and increased NEET rates. The Board heard that the strong focus on education and 3 As Strategy is a key element of the approach to tackle NEETs, ability to read being a major determinant of overall outcomes, for example.

·  The Executive Board Member for Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships outlined the impact of poverty on families and that families facing financial crisis display higher instances of domestic violence, mental health issues and substance misuse which are often the main reasons why children enter care.

·  Members highlighted ongoing concerns with increased primary and secondary school absence, NEET levels and the number of suspensions in schools. The Board accepted that based on national comparisons Leeds is performing reasonably well albeit the figures are increasing. The Board were informed that the impact of covid is still resonating in terms of school attendance and a ‘change in psyche’ around school attendance with it not being seen as essential in all families following long periods when schools were closed. The Board also heard that additional resource has been allocated to dealing with NEET rates through a new colleague who is focussed in that area and on reducing the NEET figures.

·  In respect of NEET the Board also heard that there has been a reduction in the number of young people who are classed as Not Known, by around 200 which is a significant positive set against the overall increase in NEETs.

·  The Board wanted more detail on re-offending rates noting that there was an error in the report in terms of where the direction of travel was indicating. The Board heard that in the main the re-offending rates are being driven by a small cohort who are committing more serious crime and at a higher volume. It is a focus of the Youth Justice Partnership Board to tackle re-offending rates. In addition, local data on re-offending is showing a reduction and this will feed into the figure in future performance reports.

·  The Board also expressed concerns about the obesity levels amongst children and young people.




The Board noted the updates provided on the progress being made against the refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan (2023-2028).

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